by Jeannette Haley
When I asked the Lord what He wanted me to write about for this issue, He said, “Tell them I am coming.”
Why is it important for you and me to have this word from the Lord? Could it be because dark days of dread lay ahead of us—days which will require us to fight a fearful heart and fainting mind?
Most of us prefer not to dwell on the implications of recent events, but the fact is, all who live in this world are living in “perilous times” 2 Tim. 3:1. Biblical prophecy concerning these end times is being fulfilled right before our very eyes. Consider Zech. 12:3, “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.”
Today we see the Arab world determined to drive Israel from the land that God promised to Abraham and his descendants through Isaac. Any who side with Israel are considered enemies of “Allah” and are slated for destruction. Even as I write this, President Bush and Colin Powell are pressuring Mr. Sharon to allow Shimon Peres, his foreign secretary, to meet Arafat in an effort to turn a reduction in violence into a proper ceasefire.
Jack Straw, the UK Foreign Secretary, who recently raised eyebrows by his visit to Iran and his article in the Iranian press citing the Palestinian situation as one underlying cause of terrorism, commented that “there is an obvious need to understand the environment in which terrorism breeds. That is why the whole of the international community is so concerned to see a lasting peace in the Middle East”. In his article for the Iranian press he said, “The international community will find it very hard to understand if the violence and brutality resumes. The quest for peace has to be part of the war against terrorists.”
Tricia Tillin of Banner Ministries writes, concerning Straw’s statements, “Interesting—in every other nation on earth, terrorists are to be ruthlessly hunted down and eradicated, but in the land of Israel they are to be brought to the negotiating table and offered terms!”
Tricia’s summary of her on-line article, “Alliance Against Evil” is important to note. She wrote:
“Where are we headed? So far, the fallout that I see from the events of the 11th is this: A global alliance giving further support for a New World Order. Pluralism, interfaith services and the embrace of Islam by the churches. The exaltation of ‘goodwill’ and a ‘common cause’ to unite mankind. Anti-terrorism laws that further curtail civil liberties and threaten our privacy. Talk of the introduction of compulsory ID cards with biological scans. The threat of economic recession and nuclear or biological warfare. Pressure on Israel to make a ‘lasting peace’. In my reading of scripture, this seems to be keeping step with what we would expect in the leadup to the Tribulation and the reign of Antichrist, although now of course it’s unpopular to say so.” (http://www.banner.org.uk/wtc/alliance.html)
To go back to Zechariah 12, we read these sobering words from the Lord in verse 9: “And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.”Can you imagine the terror that is soon to strike the nations of the world? How can any individual or nation fight against God and prevail? Only those who dwell in the “secret place” will be safe. (See Psalm 91.)
Any mention of the return of Jesus these days automatically brings up the subject of the “rapture” but what the Bible repeatedly warns against is being unprepared for the Second Coming. The Lord wants us to consider His return in light of being prepared.
Regardless of the flippant attitude we see concerning Jesus’ return, being suddenly ushered into the presence of a holy, almighty God is not a matter to be taken lightly. According to Revelation, this is how the King of kings will appear: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” Rev. 19:11-16.
Preparation begins with the heart, which first must be prepared to seek God in prayer. The Bible tells us in 2 Chronicles 12:14 that King Rehoboam “…did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.” Some definitions of the Hebrew word prepare, according to Strong’s Concordance, are to be erect, establish, fix, prepare, apply, certainty, confirm, direct, faithfulness, fashion, fasten, firm, be fitted, be fixed, perfect, provide, make provision, be ready, be stable and stand.
We see that spiritual preparedness requires a decision and determination on our part. It is our responsibility to seek the Lord in prayer. No one else can do it for us—no one else can cause us to be prepared before God.
Regardless of the fact that King Rehoboam “…strengthened himself in Jerusalem and reigned” God was looking at his heart. This king reminds me of those within Christendom who are rich, famous and powerful. They, like this king, have “strengthened” themselves among God’s people and are reigning as “spokesmen” for God. As it was during Rehoboam’s reign, within this man-made “kingdom” today there is gross idolatry and sin. (See 1 Kings 14:23.)
This religious idolatry is made up of people who insist on exalting, following, defending and supporting their favorite “Christian guru”. The Apostle Paul in addressing the church at Corinth concerning this human tendency wrote these words, “Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas [Peter]; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? For Christ sent me…to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect” 1 Cor. 1:12, 13, 17.
If any Christian leader fails to lift up Jesus and point you to Him, but instead exalts him or herself, his ministry or church, that leader is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Flee!
We must, must, must come to grips with the fact that when Jesus returns He will only recognize those who belong to Him. What defense can Christians give if their allegiance and support has been toward “Christian” celebrities instead of Jesus Christ? Remember, Jesus said that where our treasure is, there will our heart be also. Be honest! Where is your heart? Are you more enamored with your church or religious leaders than with the Lord? Is your heart really in the right place, or is it still held captive by anything (including the vanishing “American dream”) other than the Person of Jesus? If it is, I can guarantee you that you are not established and prepared for His coming.
To be prepared for the Lord’s coming, we must abandon all idols! 1 Samuel 7:3 tells us, “And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.”Ashtaroth means star. God’s people today need to purge the “star worship” out of their hearts and bow at the feet of Jesus alone!
Once idolatry is banished from our lives and in prayer we sense God establishing our hearts God will require our lives be cleansed, or sanctified. Sanctified means set apart for God’s use. In 2 Chronicles 19:16 we read: “And the priests went into the inner part of the house of the LORD, to cleanse it, and brought out all the uncleanness that they found in the temple of the LORD. And the Levites took it, to carry it out abroad into the brook Kiddron.” Notice that the cleansing begins in the “inner part” and “all the uncleanness” must be brought out and permanently discarded.
What kind of uncleanness can be found in the inner chambers of the heart? Concerning this Jesus said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man…” Matt. 15:19, 20a. Just as the Levites carried that which defiled the temple to the brook to be washed away, that which defiles a man can only be washed away by the blood of Jesus. “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission” Heb. 9:22.
It is interesting to note in verse 34 of 2 Chron. 19 that the “…Levites were more upright in heart to sanctify themselves than the priests.” In other words, the “lay” people were more serious about their life before God than their religious leaders. This reminds me of the plight of the church [system] today. We continually hear personal stories from dissatisfied Christians who truly want more of God. These hungry sheep are leaving their churches because they are tired of the dead, dry and dull messages or because their leadership has fallen for the many different winds of doctrine blowing about today. Sincere seekers are tired of being fed “spiritual” milk, syrup, slop and outright poison.
The truth is, it is better to walk alone, following Jesus on the narrow road, than to be numbered in the multitude with the Laodicean church. When God calls you to come higher in Him, He will separate you to Himself. Scripture is full of examples of this fact.
The return of Christ will come suddenly—in less time than a heartbeat!. No one will have time to prepare once He appears. In 2 Chron. 29:30 it says,“And Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, that God had prepared the people: for the thing was done suddenly.”
To truly be prepared to stand until our Lord returns, our hearts must not only seek after God in prayer and be cleansed by the blood of Christ, but they must be fixed on Him. He must be our all in all. With the Apostle Paul, we must be able to confess, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” Gal. 2:20. And like the five wise (prepared) virgins, we must contain sufficient oil in our lamps to be able to wait until the midnight hour when all hope of His appearing is lost. Jesus warned, “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” Matt. 24:44.
In light of the recent terrorist attacks, the entire world has witnessed the fact that worshippers of the pagan moon god, Allah, consider it the highest privilege to die for what they believe. But what of us, who know Christ? Are we as dedicated to Jesus as they are to their pagan god? The Apostle Paul put it this way in Colossians 3:3-4, “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”
May this be true of all of us who name the name of Christ! Amen!